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Caithness News Bulletins June 2005

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The Highland Council has allocated 160,000 in this year's budget to tackle the repair of unsafe headstones and memorials in its burial grounds.

The funding is being distributed throughout the Highlands and it will enable the Council to make a start to repair the unsafe headstones throughout Highland. The repair programme is likely to take several years.

Responsibility for repairs rests with the lair owner, but, due to the age of many gravestones, the Council has no prospect of tracing the owner in a large number of cases. The monies have been set aside to repair these ageing memorials.

As a temporary measure, the Council has erected barrier fencing around gravestones, which pose a health and safety risk. It has also displayed signs to warn the public of the dangers. These will be removed immediately the repairs are completed.

Councillor Charlie King, Chairman of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee, said: "The safety of members of the public visiting our cemeteries is paramount and we are doing everything with the resources available to us to ensure that safety comes first. The extra 160,000 will go a significant way towards improving safety in our cemeteries."

The breakdown of the spending is as follows: Caithness, 20,468; Sutherland, 13,462; Ross and Cromarty, 35,809; Inverness, 46,254; Badenoch and Strathspey/Nairn, 14,076; Lochaber, 16,470; Skye and Lochalsh, 13,462.

The Highland Council~s Transport Environmental and Community Services operates and maintains 268 burial grounds; carries out over 1,900 burials and over 600 cremations each year; and cares for 148 War Memorials.